April 21, 2021

Sales of organic fresh produce in the United States increased by 9.3% in the first quarter of this year, with people eating at home more credited with the growth.

Officials suggest that the increases – which outpaced the overall fresh produce market – may be difficult to sustain in the coming months as consumers eat out more.

Total organic fresh produce sales reached just over $2.2 billion (€1.8bn) in the US, according to an Organic Produce Network (OPN) report.

In a statement, Matt Seeley, the Organic Produce Network’s CEO, said organic fresh produce sales continued to be “a major growth opportunity for retailers”.

“At the same time, as the country enters a post-Covid environment, with restaurants reopening and other foodservice options available, it appears the double-digit growth rate will be slowing,” he added.

The Q1 2021 Organic Produce Performance Report, which compared the first 13 weeks of this year with the same period in 2020, found that sales of conventional produce increased more slowly, with growth of 2.9%.

While organic fresh produce sales grew 9.3% by value, the increase by volume was more modest, at 5.7%. Conventional produce sales fell 0.6% by volume.

Pre-packaged salads topped the list of organic fresh produce sales by value, with total sales of $385 million, an increase of 9.5%. Berries were second, increasing 8.8% to $339 million, while organic apple sales were third, dropping 0.9% to $175 million.

Regionally, the largest increases in sales by value were recorded in the west and north-east of the US, which the OPN said were traditionally the strongest regions for organic food sales.

The report, which was based on Nielsen retail scan data, was prepared for OPN by Category Partners.

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